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Black Friday refers to the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, in the United States. Although the term Black Friday has only become popular in recent decades, the day has been considered the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the United States since 1952.
THE BEGINNING OF THE CHRISTMAS SHOPPING SEASON
The phrase Black Friday is said to have originated in Philadelphia in the 1960s. It was used by police to describe the heavy pedestrian and vehicle traffic that occurred the day after Thanksgiving. As the phrase became more widely used, a popular explanation for the term Black Friday became that the day marked the point in the year when retailers began making a profit, going from being “in the red” financially to “in the black.” For most of the year, retailers operate at a financial loss which would be recorded in the financial records in red ink. However, they would make their profit during the holiday season, and black ink would be used to show positive amounts. Therefore, Black Friday marked the beginning of the period when retailers would no longer be “in the red.”
For years, it had been common for stores to open at 6:00am. In the 2000s, some stores began opening as early as 4:00 or 5:00am. However, in 2011 stores such as Target, Macy’s, and Best Buy took the tradition to a new extreme by opening at midnight. In 2012, retailers such as Walmart opened at 8:00pm on Thanksgiving Day. In 2014, stores including Best Buy and JCPenny opened at 5:00pm on Thanksgiving Day, while Target, Walmart, Sears, and other retailers opened at 6:00pm. Rhode Island, Maine, and Massachusetts prohibit supermarkets and department stores from opening on Thanksgiving.
The reason Black Friday - the day after Thanksgiving - is often viewed as the start of the holiday shopping season might be due to the appearance of Santa Clause in Thanksgiving parades. Thanksgiving parades often include an appearance by Santa Claus at the end of the parade to represent that Christmas is just around the corner since Christmas is the next major holiday after Thanksgiving. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Thanksgiving Day parades were typically sponsored by department stores such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade sponsored by Macy’s. These parades were used to launch a big advertising campaign. It eventually became an unwritten rule that stores would not begin Christmas advertising until the parade was over. As a result, Black Friday became viewed as the day when the holiday shipping season officially started.
Black Friday refers to the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, in the United States. On Black Friday, many stores open very early - often as early as midnight or even late Thanksgiving night - and offer large sales. Black Friday is not an official holiday, but some states and employers observe it or give workers the day off. Black Friday has been the busiest shopping day of the year in the US since 2005.
In the past, there have been reports of violence between Black Friday shoppers. There have been 12 reported deaths and 117 injuries throughout the US since 2006. In addition, shoppers often camp out over Thanksgiving night to secure a place in the front of the line to have a better chance at getting the items they want. However, this poses a safety risk because of the use of generators and propone, as well as the blocking of emergency access and fire lanes. Environmentalists have also noted that the large sales cause people to purchase more than they need, leading to overproduction which contributes to climate change.